Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sex, Guys and Video Games, Part 2

Last time, you remember, we left my husband Davie engrossed in another fun evening of playing his computer game, “The Witcher.”

I stopped in for a visit to the bedroom and observed my usual minute or two of game-playing, then asked him some typically inane questions like “Is that a wyvern?” and “Are there any cats in this game?” Davie answered me patiently as always. Then he remarked, “You know what’s interesting about this game? I’m allowed to have sex with any named character except Carmen, and I only want to have sex with Carmen.”

Typical of a guy, hey? It’s the unattainable chick that gets his interest.

Suddenly I realized that by grilling Davie with questions about the sex in this game, I could probably get a new and interesting peek into the male psyche. So I did, and I did, and here are the highlights:

Carmen, in being off-limits, is the ultimate in desirability. Carmen is the madam of the local house of prostitution. Having completed a favor for her (he got rid of some thug), all Davie has to do to hire any of the ladies is to give that girl flowers. (Imagine if Vegas operated like this. Bad for pimps, good for florists.) Just to clarify, Carmen’s pretty hot, but so are many of the other characters. There’s just something irresistible about the forbidden. And meanwhile, guys--being competitive--just love whatever they have to work at to win.

Archetypes are at play. Davie was fine with helping out Carmen--he loves doing nice things for pretty women. But he has no interest in hanging with the ho’s. It doesn’t matter what they look like in the game, it’s what they represent: and Davie has never liked obviously seductive types. He’s the kind to prefer a girl who wears an oversized tee shirt to bed over a Victoria’s Secret model. So not being into the prostitute archetype, he just says no. Now another game player who’s into dirty girls might take a different tack. It’s whatever floats your boat, in games or in real life.

But curiosity trumps all. Davie’s not into in-your-face seductresses, so he doesn’t like vampire ladies much either. However, given the opportunity to do the deed with three vampire chicks, he thought, “Heck, why not?” He just wanted to see how it would all go down. (I guess it was a bit disappointing.) In fact, curiosity was what first convinced Davie to see what sex in the game was like. His first opportunity was with a character named Triss, and Triss was hot, so he thought, why not find out what it’s like? Curiosity is a big motivator with guys in general; it’s why they are so inexplicably tormented by not knowing what everyone’s breasts in the world look like naked.

A relationship does really mean something. There is one character in the game who really does establish a romance with our alter ego/hero Geralt: Shani. She was the second character who “offered herself,” and the fact that Davie had gotten to know her, and she was nice, and she liked him, definitely increased his interest.

Being a rescuer stirs the libido. Davie also admitted that doing helpful acts for female characters works as an aphrodisiac. It wasn’t Carmen’s inaccessibility alone that drew him to her; he confessed he didn’t have an interest until after he performed that favor for the madam. That relationship also made her more real and less a “shady lady” to him. Generally speaking, having performed the “knight in shining armor” function for a girl made him more interested in making love to her.

It’s not so much conquest as accomplishment. As I explained in my previous post, in this game, when you have sex with a character, you win a character card to keep in your collection of weapons and treasures. If you install the “European patch,” these cards are actually a little graphic. Now on its face this seems uncomfortable like adding notches to one’s belt. Think about it though: How can a guy feel like he’s racking up conquests when the game is simply written this way? No, the phenomenon becomes a variation on that theme of male competitiveness: accomplishment. Kind of like merit badges in Boy Scouts.

Which is not to say looks don’t count. The motivation to win these cards really is enhanced by the hot pictures. What was interesting to hear, though, was Davie’s disappointment that they do not accurately enough resemble the characters in the game itself. I guess interacting with these 3D animated hot chicks kind of builds up a personalized yearning, and if the payoff is a little bit off, it’s disappointing. Kind of like when you Google Image search some celebrity and the thumbnail looks really good, and then it turns out the picture is actually some fan’s bad rendering of the celebrity. C’mon, that’s happened to you too, right?

So, bottom line, it’s fortunate “The Witcher” is a really good adventure game, because it fails almost utterly as porn. Which is all right with Davie and also with me.

I don’t care if there’s a cat house or not. However, I do think it needs cats.

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